What to do
Fondazione Sandretto -Torino
Art exhibitions, cinema reviews, theatre, music and dance, sporting events, feasts, fairs, folk festivals, food and wine events, historical re-enactments, international trade fairs, concerts, themed exhibitions...and lots more. These are the ingredients of the rich programme of events on offer in Piemonte each year.
I Murazzi - Torino
Fashionable bars, clubs and locations for live concerts accommodate for the youth party scene. Each evening, night revellers can choose between the many bars present throughout the region to spend their evenings. One of the many ‘cult’ venues in Torino is the ‘Quadrilatero romano’, an Old Town district with a historical charm which has been taken over by bars, art galleries, wineries, restaurants and boutiques with late-night opening. And then there are the Borgo Dora, San Salvario and Murazzi districts – the arches which follow the path of the River Po alongside a former mooring area for boats – which, when the weather is good, turn into venues for dozens of bars offering a place to drink and dance or to see music videos, and where DJs appear for impromptu sets alongside the river.
Caffè Mulassano - Torino
Green hills and vineyards that are easy on the eye, cities that are outdoor museums and historical meeting places are all distinguishing marks of the Italian landscape. The tradition of historical meeting places, particularly in Piemonte, is demonstrated by the presence of places that narrate – to this day - the very special understatement that portrays this region and its inhabitants. Those who visit Piemonte can indeed map out an itinerary of historical meeting places to see in various cities much like the way one would do when playing a board game. “Places from the Past”, for many years were centres of culture, historic meeting places that were also art salons and environments in which political ideas and civil passions took shape. Sitting in front of a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of vermouth, intellectuals and the most prominent characters of Italian and Piedmontese politics met. Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, after having rejected Austria’s ultimatum and uttered the proud War Proclamation declared: “Today we have made history…now let’s go to dinner”. Every deputy and minister of the Kingdom of Italy, united at Palazzo Carignano, agreed to seal the important decision at the tables of Cambio, the famous restaurant in Piazza Carignano that celebrated its 250th birthday last year in Torino.
Besides Cambio, the city of the “Mole” boasts many shops with antique atmosphere such as the Caffè Baratti & Milano, whose history summarises the evolution of this city at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Algostino de Michelis pharmacy in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, open since 1825, or the Stratta confectioner’s shop in Piazza San Carlo that Renzo Arbore, an enthusiastic collector of boxes stuffed with coloured sugar tablets, loves so much.
But authentic fragments of Italian history can be found pretty much anywhere. All one has to do is think of Caffè Converso at Bra, an ancient confectioner’s shop founded in 1838, frequented by Umberto di Savoia and – later on - by a camerata of writers that included Giovanni Arpino and Beppe Fenoglio. The Caffè Barbero in Cherasco, inaugurated in 1881 in pure Liberty Style; the Caffè Calissano, in the heart of Alba in the Piazza del Duomo that witnessed the arrival of artists from Cesare Pavese to painter-pharmacist Pinot Gallizio. Under the arcades of Cuneo, near the Teatro Toselli the Caffè Bruno can be seen. This cafè was founded by express desire of the Swiss family Raiter, one of the few meeting places attended by the poor. Here they could purchase crumbled “paste di meliga” (cornmeal cookies) at a reduced price.
If you want to understand the customs, tastes and desires of a people, you should get to know where they shop. Shopping in Piedmont means going to one of the 45 neighbourhood markets, rummaging around in search of curiosities and unique items in antique markets like the one in Cherasco or the historical Balon in Turin, which is written about in Fruttero and Lucentini’s novel, La donna della domenica or ”The Sunday Woman.” You should have a sharp eye out and a lot of time at hand to find the weird and often unique objects at the stands of the flea markets or to find original decorations at the little Christmas markets.
However, markets are but one part in the complex commercial system in Piedmont. There are numerous traditional workshops, such as those of the goldsmiths of in Valenza Po, of the master cabinet makers in Saluzzo, and of the ceramists in Mondovì and Castellamonte as well as of the masters of gastronomy all over the region. Piedmont Region has rewarded the activities of several workshops with its seal of handicraft excellence. Outlet villages, the current development of factory-direct distribution, make up another centre of attraction for avid shoppers in Piedmont. The first outlet in Italy opened in Serravalle in Alessandria Province and hundreds of others have followed. Finally, there are the shopping centres, where going shopping offers people a chance to walk around, drink a coffee, listen to music, and perhaps go to the movies.
PIEMONTE EXCELLENCE IN HANDICRAFTS
This section presents the work of craftsmen who have been awarded the ‘Piemonte Eccellenza Artigiana’ (Piemonte Excellence in Handicrafts), a prize for professional distinction in their artistic, traditional and innovative handicraft.
This is a recognition which the Regione Piemonte wished to give in cooperation with handicraft associations and the regional committee for handicrafts, who in recent years have identified excellent achievements in the fields of woodwork, wood restoration, jewellery, ceramics, artistic prints, bookbinding and book restoration, textiles and clothing, embroidery, glass working, musical instruments, metal working, other artistic handicraft activities and in the various sectors of gastronomy, such as pastries, chocolate, liquors, cheeses, fresh pasta, gastronomic specialities and preserves, baking, cold meats and salami.
This list is near completion.
Last Updated on 04/10/2010